September 29, 2009


K is for Krummholz. Way up on the highest knoll, 500 meters above the foothills where the kinnikinnick grows, much higher than the katydid sings or the kildeer flies, a persistent hiker or rider can reach the krummholz formation.   The word krummholz comes from the German for "twisted wood". It consists of stunted spruce or fir growing under inhospitable conditions near tree line, the altitude above which no trees will grow.  In the Uinta mountains of Utah, tree line is about 11,000 feet, 3350 meters, above sea level.   From that height , the vast openness makes a keen-eyed kid with a knapsack, or even a (k)rusty old
(k)urmudgeon, feel like he's "knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door", playing king of the mountain or keeper of the west. 

Who could be a killjoy or feel out of kilter when
(k)onfronted with such beauty?  The views are better than 24 karat gold, and a single (k)lick of a (k)amera provides the keepsake of a lifetime.  A man can give thanks to the kindness of the gods for the (k)atharsis of such an experience.

For more of Denise Nesbitt's ABC's, click here.

September 28, 2009

Golden Days

Last weekend, the aspens were near their peak autumn colors. We rode the horses from a trailhead at 8800 feet (2700 m) to a viewpoint at 10,100 feet (3100 m).
The air was hazy, perhaps due to smoke from a fire somewhere, but you can see the Wasatch mountains in the distance.  You can see patches of aspen gold on the hills.  (Click to enlarge.)
We saw the occasional maple tree, dressed in red.
Perhaps 75 % of the aspen above 9000 feet have turned gold.
This little pond provided a nice swim for Daisy.
Between the trees, you can see Currant Creek Peak.
We explored 10 miles of territory.  Spirits brightened by color and beauty, we followed Daisy...
...all the way back to the trailer, also wreathed in gold.
For views from other worlds, click here.

September 27, 2009

The Leaves, They are a Changin'

Moon Lake trail, September 12
Strawberry River area, September 17
Big Ridge, Rock Creek area, September 23
Strawberry River area, September 26
For more scenic views, click here.

September 25, 2009

Wouldn't You Rather Have Clover?

Apparently not.  These guys seem perfectly content with their prickly thistle snack.

For more camera critters, click here.

September 24, 2009

The Hills Are Alive...

With the colors of autumn. 

The aspens have turned to gold above 10,000 feet.  Below that, the maple trees are dressed in their fall best. 
These photos are from yesterday's ride to Big Ridge, in the Rock Creek drainage of the Uintas.  The yellow in the foreground in the above photo is rabbit brush. 
This is one of the Lower Stillwater ponds.  If you enlarge, you'll see aspen gold high on the mountain to the left.  We hope to return for another ride when the aspens are fully changed.

For more skies from all over the world, click here.

September 22, 2009

Joules Jolt

J is for Joules.

During a recent thunderstorm, a jolt of joules jostled electrical devices, over-juicing them and turning them into junk. (lightning photo credit: Eric @ Musings of a Wandering Physicist.)
A modem became defunct, possibly receiving its jolt through the telephone jack.  Was that just? 
A TV satellite dish became jostled, jamming all signals. 
Fixing it was a jumbo job for the repairman. 
And the auto sprinkler controls were jangled.
Jeez. Janitor Janie in(j)eniously ordered a new one.
Would she jabber her complaints, in(j)est mint juleps, or become jealous of those with working appliances while despairing at the jambalaya of joule-induced injustices? 
No, she made jest and hoped for jubilation when the repair jobs were done.
For more of Denise Nesbitt's ABC's, click here.

September 21, 2009

Phlawed (sic) Photos

In answer to a new Double Dare Meme at Kathleen's Easy for Me to Say and Derrick of Melrose Musings, I hereby proudly share these photo imperfections:
Steve's capture of Mischief, unfocused.
My shots of Frantic Daisy
and Daisy Fuzzed. 
We have taken many worse shots, but most of them were quickly deleted.  From now on, I'll try to save the really, really bad ones just in case...

Moon Lake

Moon Lake's natural water level was raised by a dam built in the 1930’s to create additional water storage for irrigating Utah's Uinta Basin farms and ranches. 
Locals enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and boating on the reservoir and in surrounding mountains. 
We rode north along the west side of Moon Lake and beyond, where Lake Fork River flows far below the trail.  The drop-off is steeper than it looks, but Mischief, my trusty steed, wasn’t worried.
In places, rock walls and aspens tower on one side of the trail.
We saw this little waterfall (above),
lots of ferns,
and a beaver lodge and dam. 
The aspens were beginning to change starting above 10,000 feet when we were there on September 12th.  By now, entire mountainsides of aspen will be gold.

For views from all over the world, click here.

September 19, 2009

Far Far Away

Strawberry Reservoir, viewed from Currant Creek Peak (3000 feet /900 m above  the reservoir, and about 12 miles to the north).

  For more lovely scenes, click here.

September 18, 2009

On the Lookout

 Daisy: I know I smell an elk down there somewhere, but I can't see one.  Which way did he go?  Can I chase him, Mom?  Can I?  Please?
For more cute Critters, click here.

September 17, 2009

Air Quality

hazeIn the first week of September, we rode twice in Mill Hollow. The trailhead begins about 20 miles south of Duchesne, Utah in Indian Canyon.  On our first ride, the air was still smoky from a fire in a nearby canyon. (When no structures are endangered, the Forest Service does not attempt to extinguish fires begun by natural causes.)
cloudsoverridgeWith thunderclouds gathering and visibility poor, we didn’t go farther than the first ridge.ind canyonview On our second ride, the fire was either burned out or blowing its smoke somewhere else.  The sky was blue and almost all of the haze had vanished. 
companyontrail We ran up on another rider who joined us on the trail, an unusual but welcome occurrence.  (He turned out to be a neighbor to our neighbor’s brother.  It’s a small people world in eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin.)

 We rode to the first ridge, around the side of a mountain, and along another ridge to beautiful viewpoints.   (In the enlarged photo, you can see a ribbon of trail stretching to the farthest ridge.)  Though our people world is small, our Utah land and sky is enormous.
swftom To view skies from all over the world, click here.

September 15, 2009

Irrigation Installation

I is for Irrigation.
In the beginning, our acreage had flood irrigation via gated pipes.  As part of a desalinization project, the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) partially funded our area’s irrigation improvement.  After  a year of idle indecision, we were inspired to upgrade from flood to impulse sprinklers on a wheel line. 
We worked under the irritating, inflexible, inaccurate, ingenious instructions of NRCS engineers, digging trenches and burying pipe.  We had no inkling of the instrumental issues we would face – incorrectly installed pump, blown out pipes, etc., but we did, inexplicably, manage to implement the system without permanent injury to our bodies or intellects.  
Indeed, this system, if not as simple to implement as implied, did turn out to be an innovation that improves water use and imparts better distribution.
In fact, I was incredulous to find that we were not quite made insolvent by the installation. The initial summer illustrates the result, an impeccable and idyllic pasture. 
abcwednesdayFor more of Denise Nesbitt’s ABC’s click here.


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